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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 14 Issue 3 (2009) pp 115-117

An Excel Spreadsheet for Predicting the Geometries of Chemical Species

Ray A. Gross, Jr.

Department of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Prince Georgeís Community College, Largo, MD 20774,
Received October 7, 2008 Accepted April 16, 2009.

Published online: 6 June 2009

Abstract. The use of a geometry predictor (GP), which is programmed on an Excel spreadsheet, is described. A user makes numerical entries for a chemical formula (i.e., its central atom, other atoms or groups, and charge, if any), and the GP displays the number of electron domains and hybridization of the central atom as well as the geometry of the species. It also shows the central atomís number of hybrid orbitals, ligands, and lone pairs of electrons, when present, and it indicates when the species is a radical. The GP finds geometries ranging from linear to octahedral for covalent compounds, cations, anions, or radicals composed of main-group elements. The results are identical to those found by students using the VSEPR methodology. Extra features include hyperlinks that connect the geometry found by the GP to drawings and to electronically generated models having that geometry. A downloadable folder that contains the GP and its associated files is available. The GP is freeware that students can use in concert with their course materials to visualize and learn molecular geometries.

Key Words: Computers in Chemistry; general chemistry; computer-based learning; Excel; covalent bonding

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (115 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

The following are included as supporting materials: an Excel workbook containing the GP, a Word document with instructions for using the GP, and 16 subordinate folders containing files necessary for the GP to operate (22 KB).

Issue date: June 6, 2009

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